Do you realize faux pas right after making them?

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Jayo
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19 Jul 2022, 8:08 pm

I guess this is a question to elicit your degree of improvement in mitigating "Aspie errors", or getting to the point of more competently masking.
I can honestly say that for me, for the most part, I've caught faux pas based on picking up non-verbal signs from others and I immediately made a retraction or said "um, OK, perhaps I could have phrased that better...that's my bad, that's on me, sorry."

So maybe there's something a bit more visceral from experience i.t.o. nonverbal signs of discomfort, like the nervous laugh, or tilting one's head away with the "forced smile", that sort of thing - perhaps I've grown more accustomed to those from some subconscious vestiges pre-diagnosis 8O

I can say that a couple of years ago, I did this online test of whether someone has committed a faux pas; there were these little vignettes of 3 or 4 people where someone did or said something given what had transpired or what someone said about a recently deceased relative or what-have-you, and then you have to answer if a person committed a faux pas, if so then what, if not then why. Believe it or not, I actually scored 20/20 :) I'm well into my 40s now, but if I were half my age just before diagnosis at age 27, I probably would've scored closer to half that.

Unfortunately, because "up to 93% of communication is non-verbal", we don't really get much feedback on faux pas; the only reliable barometer of whether you've been successful at mitigating faux pas (or avoiding them outright) is when other people aren't avoiding you, i.e. they don't look away when you walk into a room with them, they invite you to stuff, etc. Of course, this also means that we are successfully masking our "native Aspie non-verbal" which may be flat or "off".



CockneyRebel
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19 Jul 2022, 8:59 pm

When I dropped off a resume at Chuck=e=Cheese I told the manager, "This looks like it would be a groovy place to work!" As soon as I walked out the door, I said "I can't believe I said that."


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DeepHour
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19 Jul 2022, 9:04 pm

God, this takes me back! I was invited to a dinner party by my employer, the headmaster of a private school in 1985, at which several other members of the teaching staff were present. I'd never been invited to such an event before, and so had obviously not given any thought to what might be expected in terms of social etiquette and all the rest: I just assumed it was some kind of free meal, lol.

The dinner got underway, and a kind of orchestrated conversation started up. I could've dealt with individual one-to-one conversations with other people around the table, but this was different. People were trying publicly to impress everyone else with how 'well-travelled' they were, for example, and there was also a lot of focus on that staple middle-class topic of food, and seafood in particular. The headmaster turned to me and asked me a question about fishing, and the Graeco-Roman attitude to it. I hadn't been paying much attention to the conversation, and wasn't really interested in it, but at this point I just froze - I could sense that everyone was waiting on my reply, but was at a complete loss, and just said something like 'I don't know'. That was the sum total of my contribution to the evening, and though I was vaguely aware at the time of a certain momentary embarrassment, I thought nothing of it thereafter.

It was only 15-20 years later that I began to consider the idea of things like dinner parties as social events, at which conversation was regarded as an important element, as opposed to their just being an alternative source of nourishment. So yes, I don't think I recognized my 'faux pas' for well over a decade. Story of my life really....


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Bepidrix
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19 Jul 2022, 9:19 pm

Happens all the time, DDLC Yuri style. Fortunately though, usually it is a bigger deal in our heads than for other people...

The worst is when we think it's a big deal, apologize profusely, only to learn other people had barely noticed it until we pointed it out by apologizing! *laughs* *cries*



ASPartOfMe
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19 Jul 2022, 10:15 pm

Sometimes.


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Joe90
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19 Jul 2022, 10:23 pm

I can tell I've made a social faux pas by the other person's body language in their reaction, if my instinct doesn't tell me first (which is usually straight after). So I'm lucky there. But most of my social faux pas are caused by ADHD impulsiveness where I don't always think before I say something, or don't word it right. Like the other day I was trying to make a colleague at work feel better, because although he's a hardworking employee the others don't appreciate him. But I wanted to point out to him that he is a hard worker, and I jokingly added that he makes me dizzy because he's working so much. He laughed and said "dizzy..." and although he seemed to understand the context I'd meant it in, I still thought I'd better elaborate, so I said "I meant that as in you're always rushing about..." Then I realised that could have been taken a different way too, so I said "I meant you're always on the go, multitasking, busy..." And he laughed and I gave a nice smile to show that I meant it literally. I could tell he looked reassured and felt appreciated so I didn't worry about what I'd said. Sometimes I can word things badly that can be taken out of context. Like one time when I sent a friend a text, I put "I hate to boast but..." instead of "I'm not boasting but..." I did mean the latter, as I wasn't boasting, I was just proudly telling her an achievement, as I'm not the boasting type. So she got angry at me for putting that first part (she wasn't really a true friend anyway). But I should have read my text before sending, just to make sure I'd worded it right.

But has anyone here been "saved" from a social faux pas by the other person not quite hearing what you said and thought you said something else that sounds much better so you pretend you had said that all along? I get overwhelmed by the cuteness of my pet rats and when they squeak, and sometimes I comment too much on their squeaks, which sounds a little trivial to keep on about. One day my boyfriend had his nephew round, and I said, "all the rats do is squeak." He thought I said "sleep", which sounds more of an appropriate and useful piece of information to say, so I just pretended I'd said "sleep" to begin with. Because it's true, the rats do sleep a lot during the day.


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IsabellaLinton
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19 Jul 2022, 10:28 pm

No.
I learn next-to-nothing from my mistakes.
I can't see patterns in my own behaviour, let alone read signals from others.
I have no social script or plan for small talk except to pretend I like everyone.
My therapist says I've been free-falling since I was about four years old.
I can't think of any rules so my life is one giant faux-pas.


*Also I'm diagnosed with very low non-verbal skills in the 5th percentile.
I'm face blind and have auditory / visual processing delays.



ToughDiamond
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21 Jul 2022, 6:38 am

It's a mixture here. Sometimes I can tell by their body language that they haven't taken my behaviour well, other times I might go for years not understanding why they gave me a funny look or whatever.

There are still incidents in my past that I'm unsure about one way or the other. My boss threw a party once, but messed everybody around about the start time which ended up being a lot later that we'd expected. Meanwhile I'd promised my girlfriend I'd phone her at a particular time, so I insisted on leaving the party quite soon after I'd arrived (there were no mobile phones in those days). The boss' face went bright red when I explained that I had to go. But was it a mistake? In my view, family comes first, and if he'd wanted me to stay then all he had to do was to run his party on time. A lot of these dilemmas seem to be about deciding when it's appropriate to make sacrifices to society and when it's better to satisfy your own wishes.



spicyjelly
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22 Jul 2022, 5:06 pm

Oh yes. I'm now just considering keeping all my social interaction online only. It's like I can't shut up or think through a better reply. Masking seems to be harder as I get older. I used to be good at social interactions, had many friends. But the isolation of adulthood has allowed me to stop masking... I would honestly have rather kept my mask than let it slip. I feel so stupid when having conversation now.


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NotHolyRomanOrAnEmpire
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22 Jul 2022, 7:11 pm

Yeah haha, hate it. I don’t even miss social cues, I just never spot them at the right time.